The Decatur Arts Alliance (DAA) presents the ninth edition of the juried exhibition of artists’ books, The Book as Art, August 13–October 1, 2021. This edition will be installed once again at the Decatur Branch of the DeKalb County Public Library. If conditions allow, the DAA will sponsor a limited opening on Friday, August 27, 2021,or a virtual opening and tour of the exhibition. The exhibition is brought to you by Decatur Arts Alliance, Georgia Center for the Book, the DeKalb Co. Public Library, DeKalb Library Foundation and Keep it Indie-catur.
“Nine: a number both sacred and profane. This mystical numeral, both spiritual and scientific, is celebrated the world over and in all religions, representing the brightest ands darkest aspects of the celestial and the terrestrial. Fulfillment, completion, reflection, and birth are balanced with pain, misfortune, evil, and death.
For the Ancient Greeks, nine sisters born of heaven and memory gave inspiration to artists, scientists , and historians. They guided the feet and the fingers, moved the brush and the pen, swelled the chest, and sweetened the voice. But when their gifts of love and wisdom were overshadowed by hubris, the sisters punished and imprisoned those who forsook the purity of their spiritual gifts.
The muses still call out to artists world-wide, placing in their minds the seeds of creation, the word, the phrase, the form, are born and transformed upon the page. Held in the hand, a book can be a source of stability in unsettled times. Tactile and olfactory, the black and white pages conjure emotions and images that endure longer than flickering light on small screens. From tablet to folio, papyrus to scroll, song to psalm—all are created as a concept that becomes thought, becomes word, becomes book, becomes sculpture.
These objects, in an increasingly digital world, stubbornly survive and have proved a steady presence in our unprecedented isolation. Color and light, script and structure, translate thought and idea, and bestow upon us, the viewers, the fruit of artistic inspiration. The objects in this exhibition will interpret the concept of the book and invite the viewer to look beyond the printed page to where ideas, words, and symbols are transformed and are transfigured. They are expressive, iconic, mystical, and inspirational. They are, in form, muse.”
Beautifully made volumes, sculptural and conceptual interpretations, and one-of-a-kind approaches to the book format as well as wall-hung interpretations will be showcased!
I am showing “Window Treatment“, 13″ x 38″ x 9.25″, a one-of-a-kind sculptural Artists’ Book made of book board, file folders, paint, hemp cord, linen thread, canvas, mulberry paper and watercolor paper. It stands upright on a pedestal, shelf, table or other surface parallel to the floor. When opened, it can span up to 38” wide.
Several events are planned throughout the run of the show. The Georgia Center for the Book inaugurated a series of virtual tours of the exhibition, artist talks, and discussions in 2020 that will be continued in 2021. Through these presentations artists were able to talk in depth about their books, and lead us on virtual tours through their volumes. You can review these presentations at bookasart.com, and on the Georgia Center for the Book’s YouTube channel
Anna Embree is a Professor for the MFA Book Arts Program in the School of Library Science and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. She teaches courses and workshops in bookbinding, box making, and special topics in book preservation and book history. Anna has a strong interest in the physical and material aspects of book structures, collaborates with printers and papermakers on limited edition handmade books, and has exhibited widely.
Anna’s book work focuses on composition and form. When designing a single book or an edition, she works to unify content, structure, and materials. The goal is to create a visually engaging work that facilitates interaction with the content through purposeful mechanical and operational design choices.
Beth Shoemaker is the Rare Book Librarian at Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archive & Rare Book Library in Atlanta. Her work includes cataloging, collection development, teaching and curating exhibits in the Emory Libraries. In 2018 she co-curated the exhibit Common Thread: Women’s Experience through Artists’ Books at Rose Library and was recently a featured speaker on the role of artists’ books in academic libraries for the Form & Function from Afar Conference, organized by Book Paper Thread. At Emory she is the co-organizer of an event series called Bound with History, where each event is focused on a portion of the rare book collection, including artists’ books and pop-ups, and attendees get to have a hands-on experience with collection material.
Sande Wascher-James has been working with the book arts since the mid-nineties when she discovered that she could use all of the mediums she enjoyed working with in a format that varied greatly and had meaning—the book. One of the hallmarks of her work is purposefully using techniques such as embroidery and beading, which are considered “women’s work”, to deal with issues felt to be of importance to most women through the medium of book structures. The books are meant to be held in the hand and to be read, as well as to be displayed in their sculptural format. She makes both one-of-a-kind books and small editions, usually no more than two editions per year due to the intensive labor involved in making them. Sande feels that the books need to be both artistically beautiful and have a text that is as powerful as the imagery. Sande is a full time studio artist whose work has been in many exhibitions, is held in both private and public collections, and in publications. She has been honored with awards for her work in exhibitions, and has work held by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Yale, Harvard, Duke, University of Washington, and others.